They have waggy tails, love cuddles and want to help – now all they need are people to visit.
Toy poodles Crystal, 8, and Pearl, 4, are trained therapy dogs and registered with the Marlborough branch of Canine Pet Therapy.
Devoted owner and trainer Wendy Reynolds from Blenheim would love to see the furry duo use their talents in rest homes around Marlborough.
Speaking at the 65th Black Hawk National Dog Show in Blenheim on Friday, Wendy says some rest homes in the area have been slow to take up the offer.
“It would be great to see them be a bit more accepting.
“If you’re not feeling well, a cuddle makes you feel better,” she says.
As the Marlborough co-ordinator for the therapy group, Wendy and two of her four poodles joined thousands of other people and pooches at Marlborough Lines Stadium 2000.
And the dogs proved popular with visitors who rushed to cuddle them.
Crystal has a natural ability with people, says Wendy who was also entering her poodles in the show’s agility classes at the weekend.
“She has a hunger for people, she just wants to be around them.
“She has so much to give but once she’s 10-years-old she won’t do agility anymore and it would be great to see her still involved in the community.”
Health research in New Zealand and overseas shows many people show great improvement in their health and attitude through interaction with visiting animals.
Canine Friends Pet Therapy is a New Zealand-wide network of people who share their friendly, well behaved dogs with patients in hospitals and residents in rest homes/hospices.
The service is free and helps spread happiness,” says Wendy.
“One Christmas I put all four dogs in a pram, decorated it with tinsel and took them in [to a rest home], in their Santa suits. Everyone was do happy to see him.”
Wendy is looking for more volunteers as well as places for the therapy dogs to visit.
She says any dog, given the right training, can be a therapy dog.
“You’ve got to be committed and even after all this time, I’m still training them.
“To raise a dog is like raising a toddler, you have to teach them manners.”
For further information visit caninefriends.org.nz